PDW 06: Enlightening the Future of Paradox Theory: Writing Workshop on the Centripetal and Centrifugal Forces of Theory Development

Ella Miron-Spektor
INSEAD, France
Camille Pradies
EDHEC Business School, France
Jonathan Schad
Cass Business School, City, University of London, United Kingdom

Call for Applications


Miguel Pina e Cunha, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal
Tobias Hahn, ESADE Business School, Spain
Michael Smets, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
Garima Sharma, Anderson School of Business, University of New Mexico, USA



Marianne W. Lewis, Cass Business School, City, University of London, United Kingdom
Wendy K. Smith, University of Delaware, USA


In our complex world, individuals, organizations, and society increasingly confront competing demands, contradicting goals, and fundamental conflicts. For instance, technological progress generates tremendous possibilities, but has also reveals challenges to organizations (Yoo et al., 2012); as more stakeholder groups can express their opinions, this creates tensions between firms’ internal and external demands (Hahn et al., 2014); responding to increasing complexity requires hybrid forms of organizations (Battilana & Lee, 2014; Smith & Besharov, 2019); individuals are expected to demonstrate creativity and efficiency (Miron-Spektor et al., 2011). Since tensions pervade organizational contexts at all levels (Smith & Lewis, 2011), managing them effectively is vital for an organization’s success and survival (Sundaramurthy & Lewis, 2003) and for organizational members’ thriving and well-being (Ashforth et al., 2014; Miron-Spektor et al., 2018). Yet, navigating competing demands is challenging (Smets et al., 2015) and requires a thorough understanding of them. By conceptualizing tensions as “persistent contradictions between interdependent elements” (Schad et al., 2016, p. 6), paradox theory offers a means to understanding organizational, group and individual level tensions and provides a language for scholars from different fields and levels to engage in a conversation about understanding and managing competing demands.
In this Pre-Colloquium Development Workshop (PDW) – which is linked to the EGOS Standing Working Group (SWG) 09 and sub-theme 09 at the EGOS Colloquium 2019 in Edinburgh –, we aim at discussing the challenges and promises of researching organizational tensions and writing and publishing paradox papers. Despite the growth of the field, conducting paradox research and writing paradox theory is challenging. Core to our theorizing are centripetal forces and centrifugal forces (Sheremata, 2000). While centripetal forces define and buffer a conceptual core, centrifugal forces aim at challenging the core and extending its boundaries. Although pulling in different directions, the dual forces are contradictory and fundamentally interdependent to theory development in paradox research (Schad et al., 2019). This is essential to avoid the ‘paradox of success’ (Cunha & Putnam, 2019). The workshop seeks papers with innovative contributions as well as new theoretical and methodological approaches that leverage and/or further our understanding of paradox theory. We are open to conceptual and empirical work at different levels of analysis and using various methodologies.
This PDW is a pre-Colloquium activity that seeks to help scholars develop their papers. In addition to sub-theme 09, this workshop offers an arena for scholars sharing an interest in the field of paradox, competing demands, and plurality, to develop their ideas towards publishable research articles. Further, the PDW extends to other sub-themes dealing theoretical and or empirical tensions. The focus will be on small group interaction. The workshop is open to all scholars interested in paradox theory. Papers will be selected depending on their innovativeness and potential contribution. PhD students and early career scholars are particularly encouraged to submit. We will give preference to papers that are not presented in the main conference program.



This PDW will start with a brief introduction on paradox theory, and guidance for publishing paradox research. Accepted papers will receive feedback from experts, and be thoroughly discussed in round tables sessions. All participants are expected to have read the papers of their fellow session presenters and be ready to contribute to their discussion.


Please submit – via the EGOS website – by April 2, 2019 a single document of application (.doc, .docx or .pdf file) that includes

  • A short letter of application containing full details of name, address (postal address, phone and email), affiliation (date of PhD completion for early career scholars), a statement of why you consider it valuable to attend this PDW as well as an indication of what journal(s) the paper is likely to be submitted to.

  • A draft/working paper with max. 10 double-spaced pages, incl. references, figures, or tables

By submitting a short paper you agree to provide full paper prior to the workshop.
We will accept a maximum of 24 participants. We will contact applicants to let them know whether or not they are accepted for the workshop by mid-April 2019.


  • Ashforth, B.E., Rogers, K.M, Pratt, M.G., Pradies, C. (2014): “Ambivalence in Organizations: A Multilevel Approach.” Organization Science, 25 (5), 1453–1478.
  • Battilana, J., & Lee, M. (2014): “Advancing Research on Hybrid Organizing – Insights from the Study of Social Enterprises.” Academy of Management Annals, 8, 397–441.
  • Pina e Cunha, M., & Putnam, L.L. (2019): “Paradox theory and the paradox of success.” Strategic Organization, 17 (1), 95–106.
  • Hahn, T., Preuss, L., Pinkse, J., & Figge, F. (2014): “Cognitive Frames in Corporate Sustainability: Managerial Sensemaking with Paradoxical and Business Case Frames.” Academy of Management Review, 39 (4), 463–487.
  • Miron-Spektor, E., Gino, F., & Argote, L. (2011): “Paradoxical frames and creative sparks: Enhancing individual creativity through conflict and integration.” Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 116 (2), 229–240.
  • Miron-Spektor, E., Ingram, A., Keller, J., Smith, W.K., & Lewis, M.W. (2018): “Microfoundations of Organizational Paradox: The Problem Is How We Think about the Problem.” Academy of Management Journal, 61 (1), 26–45.
  • Schad, J., Lewis, M.W., Raisch, S., Smith, W.K. (2016): “Paradox Research in Management Science: Looking Back to Move Forward.” Academy of Management Annals, 10 (1), 5–64.
  • Schad, J., Lewis, M.W., & Smith, W.K. (2019): “Quo vadis, paradox? Centripetal and centrifugal forces in theory development.” Strategic Organization, 17 (1), 107–119.
  • Sheremata, W.A. (2000): “Centrifugal and Centripetal Forces in Radical New Product Development under Time Pressure.” Academy of Management Review, 25 (2), 389–408.
  • Smets, M., Jarzabkowski, P., Burke, G.T., & Spee, P. (2015): “Reinsurance Trading in Lloyd’s of London: Balancing Conflicting-yet-Complementary Logics in Practice.” Academy of Management Journal, 58 (3), 932–970.
  • Smith, W.K., & Besharov, M. (2019): “Bowing before Dual Gods: How Structured Flexibility Sustains Organizational Hybridity.” Administrative Science Quarterly, 64 (1), 1-44.
  • Smith, W.K., & Lewis, M.W. (2011): “Toward a Theory of Paradox: A Dynamic Equilibrium Model of Organizing.” Academy of Management Review, 36 (2), 381–403.
  • Sundaramurthy, C., & Lewis, M.W. (2003): “Control and Collaboration: Paradoxes of Governance.” Academy of Management Review, 28 (3), 397–415.
  • Yoo, Y., Boland, R.J., Lyytinen, K., & Majchrzak, A. (2012): “Organizing for Innovation in the Digitized World.” Organization Science, 23 (5), 1398–1408.
Ella Miron-Spektor is Associate Professor at INSEAD, France. Her research explores creativity and learning paradoxes, culture, and emotions. Her research appeared in leading journals such as the ‘Academy of Management Journal’, ‘Organization Science’, ‘Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes’, and ‘Journal of Applied Psychology’.
Camille Pradies is an Assistant Professor of Management at EDHEC Business School, France. Her research focuses on ambivalence and identity at the individual and group levels and on the organizational and institutional conditions that influence them. Camille’s research has appeared in ‘Organization Science’.
Jonathan Schad is Swiss National Science Foundation post-doctoral researcher at Cass Business School, City, University of London, UK. His research appeared in the ‘Academy of 'Management Annals’, ‘Journal of Management Studies’, and ‘Strategic Organization’.